After the issuance of arrest warrants, the Sandiganbayan can slap a 90-day suspension on Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada.
Under the law (Luciano v. Mariano), the anti-graft court can issue a suspension order against an accused public official provided that the court has determined that the information filed against the accused is valid.
The Sandiganbayan’s First and Fifth divisions already ruled that there is probable cause to arrest Revilla and Estrada.
The reason behind the imposition of a 90-day suspension on an accused official is to prevent him from exercising undue influence on witnesses.
The law says a trial court “should issue an order with proper notice requiring the accused officer to show cause at a specific date of hearing why he should not be ordered suspended from office.”
The mandatory suspension upon determination of the pendency in court of a criminal prosecution for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act or for bribery under a valid information requires at the same time that hearing be expeditious, not unduly protracted such as to thwart the prompt suspension.
Representatives Elpidio Barzaga of Cavite and Sherwin Tugna of Citizens Battle Against Corruption party-list, both lawyers, said the suspension order is usually issued by the Sandiganbayan after the arraignment of the accused.
“The prosecution will file a motion for the suspension of all the accused. The Sandiganbayan will then issue an order suspending the accused for a period of 90 days,” Barzaga said.
“The Sandiganbayan can do that [order suspension], but that is merely recommendatory. Whether the Senate will suspend an accused senator will depend on the Senate Committee on Ethics after its investigation of the matter,” Tugna said.